‘Genocide’ Biden’s catchphrase to scapegoat Russia, save political career
Published: Apr 13, 2022 09:44 PM
US President Joe Biden speaks to guests during a visit to POET Bioprocessing on April 12, 2022 in Menlo, Iowa. Photo: AFP

US President Joe Biden speaks to guests during a visit to POET Bioprocessing on April 12, 2022 in Menlo, Iowa. Photo: AFP

The rhetoric of "genocide" has taken the stage again. For the first time, US President Joe Biden used the term to describe Russia's actions in Ukraine. 

"Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank — none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away," Biden said in a speech in Iowa on Tuesday. 

It is interesting to notice the background when the line was delivered - As US inflation hit a 40-year high, the theme of the speech was about "lowering energy costs for working families." In other words, when Biden showed no capability to fix US' domestic puzzles, he turned to a convenient scapegoat - Russia this time. 

Biden tossed out the term "genocide" easily and casually, without solid proof. He later added that "we'll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me." The truth is, it does not matter whether it qualifies; the line was uttered not to Russia, but to the Americans. 

While being criticized for and questioned about the Biden administration's incompetence and ineffectiveness in governing the US, Biden pinned an ambiguous label on Russia to distract people's attention from the sluggish US economy by screaming about the conflict on the other side of the globe. Against the current background, "genocide" is a catchphrase to use. 

He was attempting to save his approval ratings and political career. By accusing Russia of committing "genocide," Biden can sharpen US confrontation with Russia, aggravate the tensions in Ukraine, and make a strong point that he is leading the US amid a severe crisis. 

He wishes to win more votes during the upcoming midterm elections through the tactic, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.

From a global perspective, the accusation of "genocide" made by the US has long lost its strength to create a storm, as Washington has thrown the term around the world every once in a while. Right before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, China was accused of "committing genocide" in its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. 

The list is even longer. Beyond the Holocaust, the US State Department has officially concluded that genocide was committed eight times. If individual politicians' remarks are also taken into account, the frequency of the term being raised is much higher. The US has overly diluted the meaning of the word.

"Genocide" has become a tool, which the US has been taking advantage of in pursuing its political goals. For ordinary people, it may have become a norm to hear the US talking about it out loud. Few would take it seriously anymore. The US has never been the avatar of justice, nor is its relevant wording sacred. Whether there is genocide, it should be determined based on the facts, rather than on what the US would say, according to Shen Yi, a professor at Fudan University. 

No one knows what genocide really means better than the US. 

"Let's not forget that the US was built on genocide," Shen said, adding that the US slaughtered indigenous peoples, took their land, and established the country. More brutal treatment toward Native Americans can be traced afterward. In 1814, the US government decreed that it would award $50 to $100 for each Indian skull surrendered. The US government has also systematically used Indian reservations as toxic or nuclear waste dumps through deception and coercion. 

Genocide is the US sin that can never be cleared. But Washington has been grasping the right to define the term. It portrays itself as the god of freedom, which has liberated people living in ignorance, barbarism, and desolation, and saying that the US is the beacon which brought civilization. 

Audiences worldwide, especially those from non-Western countries, have started to see through the US manipulation of public opinion. It is the least qualified to pin the label on any other country. 

In the ongoing Ukraine crisis, the map of global participation in the sanctions against Russia tells its own story - the majority of countries are not taking sides, no matter how grievously the US characterizes Russia, or how high the moral ground Washington claims to have stood on. 

If the US brings up "genocide," it has an old score to settle first. "And take a look at the trauma the US has brought to the world since WWII, the harm is no less destructive than committing genocide," Li said. 

As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once said, "If you say genocide, then you need to look at yourselves in the mirror and make an evaluation."